Sunday, 30 October 2016

Art Elements Sugar Skull Challenge.

Actually I am seriously disappointed with my result from this fabulous challenge that Jen set for the Art Elements sugar skull component challenge  I had such fabulous ideas when my parcel arrived and I set the sugar skull bead aside in my studio, passing it every day as I went to the torch and musing over it each and every time.  I scoured Pinterest for amazing unique ideas and fantastized about creating this elaborate piece filled with colour.  Then the inevitable happened, the whole house was struck down with the 'man flu' that my son brought home from work and I too spent a few days on the sofa watching day time tv and being thoroughly bored but having no energy to do anything at all.

My daughter loves skulls and my original plan was to design something for her that she would wear, baring in mind that she doesn't do over the top jewellery - you should see her shoes they are seriously wacky.. but her jewellery is very minimal, so with the lack of energy and running out of time I found in my stash of beads a lovely rondelle sparkly collar bead, I wanted a crown but only found a silver plated cone bead but I did find the wire 'lacy' steampunky dangle which was once part of a pair of ear rings that I absolutely loved and kept when they went out of fashion back in the 90's...everything comes back into fashion eventually.. right?  I wired it all together with some red jewellery wire and will be giving it to my daughter on a black leather thong.  It isn't much but it is simple and effective I am just disappointed I didn't do more with Jen's bead :/  

Here is the list of the others that are taking part in the blog hop, bet theirs is better than mine!

Guest Designers
Staci Louise Smith
Karin Grosset Grange
Solange Collin
Art Elements Team
Caroline Dewison
Susan Kennedy
Laney Mead
Claire Fabian
Diana Ptaszynski
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Cathy Spivey Mendola
Lindsay Starr
Niky Sayers
Lesley Watt
Cooky Schock
Jen Cameron

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Tree Challenge

 Caroline from Art Jewelry Elements gave a challenge at the beginning of September - how time flies as now we are at the end of September! - for a Tree Themed Challenge and I said 'go on then I will play', then promptly did nothing for two weeks.

Panic set in last week and I realized that the month end was dawning and I had no ideas so I picked up my doodle book (most people call it a sketch book I just doodle in mine....) and was flicking through it and found this doodle...obviously it fit the theme.  

I LOVE eyes, I doodle them all the time and this one morphed into the finished doodle is now.

The other night I sat with doodle book on my lap watching the TV and this fellow arrived in the bark of a tree trunk....

...another evening doodle this time I was thinking about my dog walk and the ancient woods I walk through, a corridor of trees that can feel very spiritual and very ecclesiastical and I was reminded, during my doodle, of many Sundays spent in church listening to the organ and so doodled some music notes.  This doodle is actually quite flat and I really couldn't get  a good feel to it so was a bit disappointed but all doodles should be for pleasure and we shouldn't judge ourselves too harshly....

Before glass I used to do much more fine art, mainly pets and their portraits but sometimes I did trees too.  I was once told that to become more able to study a face, be it human or animal then practise 'seeing' trees as each one is different like a face they have unique lines.  Both of the drawings below are artist grade coloured pencil and ink.

This has to be one of my favourite paintings and it hangs in my bathroom.  It is approx 4ft wide and is painted with acrylic.  I am not a painter my use of the brush can be quite messy and I end up with more paint on me than the canvas, I prefer pencil, but I went through a stage of painting and produced many paintings, most of which featured a tree or animal.  This one was inspired by a wonderful trip with friends to Symonds Yat near to me on the River Wye on the border of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire within a few miles of Monmouthshire and the Welsh border.

Even in glass the trees, or more the spirit of the woodland, finds its way into my beads and small sculptures.  The first two beads are my take on the Green Man.

This one is supposed to represent the bark of the tree...

Oddly in glass my muse is whimsical, I suppose really my drawing is now too, being too serious doesn't suit me and I am known for my beads with bums.  This little chap was inspired by my love of everything whimsical, he is the Tree Spirit or Elemental and came about after my looking at the work of Brian Froud.

...and.. this is Trevor and Trevor was inspired by the Tree Theme Challenge....   It is time for all good squirrels to start collecting nuts as Autumn descends the leaves turn golden brown  and ruby red and Trevor here is told by his wife to buck his ideas up and start contributing to the family's stash of food for the Winter and to out into the driving rain and collect enough acorns to stock the larder. Poor Trevor is seriously hen pecked, in fact it has been known that Trevor is a frequent visitor to the hen house just to get some peace for an hour or so!

So after thinking I didn't have a single idea about using trees in art it turns out I have been immersed in a forest of ideas for a good few years!!

I am looking forward to reading all about those that took part in this challenge and seeing the ideas that others have come up with, if you want to blog hop with me here are the links....

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Art Jewelry Elements Blog Hop Head Pin Challenge.

*blows dust off blog.....*

I have recently joined Art Jewellery Elements via Facebook having long admired and read their posts via their blog and am a very proud member of the 'staff', yes I am one who will write stuff, interesting, intellectually entertaining stuff every do I get myself into these things.....  so I thought that why not jump feet first into a challenge which had less than 24 hours left for the sign ups and about 4 days to create a 'something' that was brilliant!

So sign up I did.  Then instantly worry and debate my sanity.

The challenge is head pins and I 'luckily' had some in my bead box that I made last year.  I don't make head pins as a rule so this really was a lucky find.  These head pins are lampworked glass berries, holly and mistletoe on copper wire.  I had (!) 7 - read on why I had! and a lone holly leaf glass bead.   After a long walk down at the river with the dogs musing on what on earth I was going to create, I had a brilliant  *light bulb moment*....

I would create a sculpture of wire and beads and it would be fabulous.

I obviously forgot the last time I used wire was circa 2000 - head pins not included in this realization.  I just don't make jewellery.

So I gathered my supplies, a vague idea of a sculpture in my head, grabbed a piece of paper and dashed off a doodle of a wreath/garland being held by a fabulously crafted wire robin - the latter will get completed but I ran out of time.. 

The supplies I collected together was some seed beads in greens and silver and gold, some copper wire in various gauges, I found in my stash a rather cute silver tone charm of a Christmas stocking, some silver balls, the head pins and the glass bead.

Next came the quick doodle of the design. I am rarely this organized but with the lack of time I figured it was a good idea.  I thought the scale was about right in the doodle for the garland, in hindsight when I get round to making the bird (should I get round to making the bird) the bird is going to have to be HUGE for the design to work. 

First up bending the thicker copper wire into a round-ish shape.  Not that easy when you are round-ish challenged.. thank goodness for salt pots, I wrapped the wire around the salt pot and it was the perfect size. 

And this is why there 'was' 7 head pins.  As I have already stated, I don't make jewellery and during my wire wrapping of the first head pin I was a little bit over zealous with the wrap and the glass berry bead came away from the wire, I could have glued the wire back in but if anyone has seen me with glue they will know that wouldn't have ended well so I just had to use 6 and be a bit more careful.

Three on and three to go.  I was just seeing how the design would work out with the 6 pins.  After the breaking disaster I did decide to use some seed beads on the wire to separate the glass berry and the wrap and make me less heavy handed in the wrapping.  

We are all wired on including the glass holly bead.. Now to make it look pretty.

I decided to go with the gold seed beads and the green ones, they are different sizes which helped with the over all effect.  

I was quite pleased with how it was going but it really did lack a 'something'.

So I dived back into my cupboard of beads and found some little green drops I liked and promptly spilt beads all over the dog, carpet, table.....  I really should have got out my bead board....

I wired the drop beads in groups of three and the balanced look I wanted started to come through and look right, despite me breaking the 7th head pin.  I added the cute silver stocking charm and declared my head pin challenge a success.

I am still wondering about making it into the sculptural piece with the wire bird - that has yet to be born - so will have to carry on with the wire and my doodle.....

To see more of those that joined in the challenge here are the links ..


AJE Team Members:

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Vital Statistics.

Tuesday morning, 9am the phone rang.  I was upstairs getting dressed - don't judge me I am up before 7am and do a few jobs, the second I get dressed Defi dog starts barking to go on his walk, its easier to let any early morning delivery drivers think I am lazy! - so I am in the bathroom with the door shut, the husband is in bed after doing a night shift and I am silently praying my daughter can roust herself off the sofa where she landed as soon as she arrived back from the boyfriends about half an hour before.  I pause, one leg in my jeans, one hand on the door handle ready to yank it open and whisper loudly and with menace 'can you grab the phone...pleaassse!', when I hear her say 'Hello, no it's her daughter can I take a message?'.

I resume breathing and continue dressing.

Walking downstairs I can see in the mirror at the bottom the reflection of Defi through the glass door at the end of hall that separates the kitchen from the rest of the house, his tail is wagging so fast its blurred and he is bashing Iz about the head with one of his teddies.  He knows its nearly time to start barking, drive me nuts and hurry me out of the door before the husband wakes up.  Not that the husband will wake up he can sleep through the apocalypse, which he demonstrates regularly when the 'grown up' kids have a disagreement and raise the roof with their shouts and mild threats whilst the husband snores soundly through it all.  This still doesn't stop me trying to get Defi out of the house before I go deaf with him yelling at me to go faster.

I stop at the living room where the daughter is once again welded to the sofa watching some awful programme on tv with families shouting at each other and disagreeing over a wedding dress whilst the staff of the shop make peace.

'Who was on the phone, love?' I ask
'Doctors.' comes the response 'you have to ring back to make an appointment.'
'Me? Sure they didn't say Mr?'

Its not that I don't believe my daughter but she can be every bit the blonde bimbo when the situation is not about her, her shoes, her car or her studies.  I am not calling her selfish, she can be the most thoughtful person but only when it suits her mood.

'Definately you.' she says.

So off I go to ring the doctors before I go out with the still silent but that tail is now resembling a helicopter blade in that moment between on the ground and in flight, Defi dog.

After giving my name and address the receptionist confirms it was indeed me they want to see.
'Just for a routine check' she says 'you can refuse if you want but its something we offer for women of your age.'
'My age?' Its still only 9am-ish my knees are still working fine, no real aches and pains usually associated with the end of the day, I am feeling pretty good in myself and quite the moment.
'Yes' comes back the reply flat and emotionless 'we do this at 40, 45, 50, 55 etc, to check on your heart condition, diabetics that sort of thing.'

I am 45.  Was 45 last month.  Feel 25.  Am 45.  I fit the criteria.

'You can refuse.' she adds again.

I think for a moment, in the last 2 years both my parents have had heart attacks, even though I am mostly estranged from the family bad news has a way of reaching out and finding you, so I am quickly thinking its a good idea, at my age!

'Is that a polite way of telling me I am old?' I quip and finally get a response of a snigger from the otherwise bored sounding voice at the end of the line 'put me down for the old person tests.'

I can almost hear her smiling at her end,
'Ok, Friday at 2.20pm?'

I put the phone down and glance through the glass door at Defi who now is beside himself that bark is in his throat and its only the teddy in his mouth that is stopping the cacophony breaking free and raising the dead.

'Can you grab a pen and write down my appointment time with the doctors on Friday?' I ask my daughter 'I better get Defi out before he wakes your dad'
'Sure, what is it for?' the TV is on pause
'Vascular check apparently, now I am old' I tut in her direction waiting for her to compliment me on my youthful vigour.  I am still waiting.
'Will do.'

I take both Defi and Iz out for an hour or so down to the river revelling in my youthful gait as I stride confidently up gradients of at least 85 degrees; or the hill down at the river known locally amongst the dog walkers as 'Cardiac Hill'.  When I get home I notice that my daughter has indeed written down my doctors appointment time and has attached it to the fridge using a magnet.

In red ink it reads....

Mum, 2.20pm Friday 14th April, doctors, fanny check.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Cat v Rat.

It transpires that we have a situation. 

This is where I live, its beautiful isn't it?  I took this snap shot the other day whilst walking the dogs across the fields and into the ancient woods, if you look really close there is a couple of houses in the middle, I live in one of them.

Defi above mooching in the recently ploughed field no doubt looking for a dip that has filled with dank smelly water for him to lie in!

The river Wye, so beautiful with early morning sunlight dappled on the surface.  This morning the ducks were out and bathing making me feel that Spring is indeed coming.

The problem.  Gordy is a cat, but not your average cat...

... and when you live in rural farm land surrounded by cows, sheep, pigs and a working farm with tractors, hay bales, silage and all the ponds, barns and equipment of a farm..... get rats.  Now I don't mind rats, used to keep fancy rats years ago as pets and loved them.  I like the soft silky dry - I know that is a contradiction in words but to me they are soft, silky, scaly and lovely - tails, their twitching noses, tiny toes and tickly whiskers.  I love rats, well pet ones, the outside, independent, going my own way, going to eat your shed, live in your compost and under your studio, sort of rat.. not so keen.

That was our Megan in her later years.  She passed away about a year before Gordy came to live with us at the grand age of 23 and she was still going outside to hunt those pesky rats, mice, voles, moles, birds, foxes - she was a force to be reckoned with was our Meg she ruled the house and garden...and parish, even badger kept his distance and only once or twice was an adder snake brave enough to visit the garden and even then he was found hiding, fearing for his life, under the car and was only too happy to let me take him across the lane and put him in the field where he slithered off, away from Meg.  

I like snakes too, they remind me of rats tails.

We are so rural we get all sorts of wildlife, badger, fox, owl at night, pheasants...  to name a few and we even get the cute bunnies, this one was taken a few years ago when my husband had a car rusting quietly away on the drive and yes, rats moved in to it and were very happy in the engine bay for a while until the husband found out and finally had the car removed.  They did me a favour those rats I had been moaning for a good couple of years at him to get rid of that rusting heap of metal.

Our Claude.  Such a mighty mouser.. and ratter.  He is seen here in the final months of his life, he did go senile and took to sleeping in the shoe cupboard so we cleared cubby hole and put an old towel in there for him to lie on.  We lost Claude at 22 just a few weeks before Gordy came here, really losing Claude left the gaping hole that meant we were cat less for the first time in 20 years but it also meant that Gordy with all his quirks, could come and live with us, 

who was followed a year or so later by Teeko, the other problem.

You see neither Gordy nor Teeko are outside cats, Teeko used to be when he lived next door but he only ever went out to his garden, he is a natural house cat and he likes nothing better than sleeping on top of the fish tank or on my daughters bed.  Teeko is also a bit of a wuss and I think a face to face meeting with a rat would send him dashing in the opposite direction tail waving a hurried good bye.  Teeko is also coming up to his 14th birthday so as an old boy who has been relocated to our house we let him be the house cat he wants to be.

Gordy hasn't got the skills to be outside on his own nor to hunt, the only thing I have watched him hunt is flies, of which he doesn't catch, and once a wasp in the summer.  I was confident of the fact he couldn't catch the wasp so let him jump about around it like a possessed kangaroo taking hypnotic drugs and was most surprised, although not as much as he was, when he accidentally put his paw out and managed to stand on the wasp, who in turn stung him in the paw but even then Gordy just stood there, paw still on the wasp looking at me running across the grass to rescue him and remove the stinger whilst apologizing profusely to the poor stunned wasp for letting Gordy annoy him that bright and sunny afternoon.

So we have two cats and no ratters.  Poison isn't an option, I don't like the thought of the rats suffering long and painful deaths and besides we have dogs and that doesn't bare thinking about should they get either the poison or the infected rat.  The husband suggested some feral cats, just a couple that could live in the garden with access to the big shed, the little shed, the garage and we have enough space to build them a bespoke shelter should they prefer it.  I like the idea of giving homes to feral cats but allowing them to still be themselves, older cats needs protection from the weather and someone to keep an eye on them but like to be left to do what cats do.  Hunt.  Hopefully!

I think we are going to do it but now the problem is me, you see the family want them to remain feral and help with the vermin so that it doesn't become a problem, but we haven't got them yet and I want to donate the original cat tree to the shed for them and Catie and Carl are good names for feral cats... right? 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Mothering Sunday.

Traditionally Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the forth Sunday of Lent.  Girls in service were given the day off to visit their mothers, although my husband came home yesterday and said he had heard on the radio that it was to visit their Mother Church.  Either way I got to wondering, was it just girls that celebrated Mothers then? 

I have a love hate relationship with Mother's Day and have had many 'mother figures' in my life which include  a mother, a step mother and an Aunt that 'fostered' me during my teenage years.  My step mum is younger than me and didn't marry my father until I was a mother myself so her influence on my life has been minimal if at all, but we bonded over a love of dogs.  (My first step mother was one whose influences ensured I would never be like her.) My biological mother: its a tenuous relationship to say the very least but my Aunt I always class as the one that gave me the morals and ideals I live with to this day.  

I no longer go to church like how my teenage years were spent but this morning walking my dogs past the old Norman Church in Breinton, I could hear the organ playing and see daughters with their mothers arm in arm going through the doors and I was reminded of the old couple that lived next door to us many years ago when my kids were small.  The lady had had a stroke a few weeks before and my kids were quite scared by her 'new' look, her face was twisted and gnarled and she did look a little odd.  My neighbours were church goers and that Mothering Sunday morning I was on the drive with my small children washing my car when they arrived home.  The lady got out of her car and came towards me, my daughter ducked down behind the front wheel of the car in fright as into my hands she pushed a small bunch of daffodils wrapped in tinfoil, 'For you.' she said 'for Mother's Day' and she went back into her house.  She died a few months later, late in the night, I watched the ambulance from my bedroom window and sent up a prayer that him upstairs would welcome such a lovely spirit.  

Mother's can be found in all places and they don't have to be a relative, my neighbour always had a smile for me even on the darkest days.

The hedges are bursting this morning, white hawthorn flowers along the field where we walk.

Izabel decided to go camouflage on the dog walk and I was just grateful it was mud not animal poo!

The daffodils in flower in the woodland area that reminded me of the lady next door all those years ago.

The old church, I waited until the mums and daughters had gone inside.  How lucky I am to have a daughter, and son, and an Aunt who guided me through those teenage years!

...and a Gordy who makes me smile each and every day.

Happy Mothering Sunday where ever you are, I hope your day is filled with flowers, song and smiles and like me a good friend that has given you a bloody good bottle of red wine for later when the kids are out and the husband is at work!


Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Un-Doggers.

The Un-Doggers and no I am not talking about the group of people that are known as 'Doggers' and frequent more or less the same places as the 'Un-Doggers' or even the 'Dog Walkers', I am talking about the 'Un-Doggers' the middle aged people often accompanied by small children that are extended family to whom they are treating to a nice walk in the country.

The weather hasn't warmed up, in fact today it is positively freezing, but the hedges are are trying to change colour from the grey bleak tones of mid winter to the fresh hues of green that signal the return of Spring.  Daffodils are opening their yellow heads and turning them towards the sun's weak rays on days when the sky is blue and cloudless, Snowdrops are nodding quietly under the hedgerows listening to the birds chattering over the price of bedding they are foraging for to build nests for their impending young, the tractors are ploughing the fields ready for the farmers to plant their crops.  Even the dog walkers are starting to remove some layers of winter walking clothing, heralding, indeed, the coming of warmer days.

The 'Un-Doggers' must not be confused with the fishermen, the hardened blokes that walk the banks of the river in waders, thick Aran jumpers and flat caps dragging behind them on trolleys enough equipment to catch a small fishing fleets quota of sea crab. Their rods over their shoulders as they work their way across the muddy fields in search of the break in the barbed wire fence that has been cut by someone before them making access to the river bank easier than negotiating the kissing gates in place.  It should be noted that whilst cutting the barbed wire fences, or any fences, is unethical and most likely unlawful it is handy for the fishermen and also for the odd dog walker that is trying to remain upright on the river path that has been flooded several times over winter and is now a bog of quick sand and therefore so much easier to walk along the fields edge.

Neither should the 'Un-Doggers' be likened to young lovers, those couples whose ages vary from the older teenager or twenty-somethings wanting some time alone together away from parents or siblings to the older couples, newly mated, that are trying to rekindle their youth and hopefully not jar a hip or pull a muscle whilst negotiating the well worn paths through the woods.

The last group to not be associated with 'Un-Doggers' is the joggers, those people who feel that dressing up in bright vivid colours and charging through the countryside not stopping to admire the catkins bursting open or the ducks washing in the river their heads dipping below the water line sending ripples out across the water, the sun catching the droplets and creating tiny rainbows that glitter like jewels, to be a good activity for a weekend.  No, joggers, runners and even the kayakers and rowers they too are not 'Un-Doggers'.

'Un-Doggers' are those people that dress in white jackets, light beige trousers, shoes rather than walking boots or wellies.   (I know joggers wear trainers but they are usually covered in mud so therefore they are not 'Un-Doggers').  They have camera's around their necks and their young are dressed in bright fabrics, all clean and iron pressed their fluffy hats new for the season, occasionally you get a child with bright clean, brand new wellingtons but as a rule they are few and far between.  They flap their arms in the air when they see a bee or wasp and pick the bluebells that cover the ancient woodland floor because they are pretty, only to dump them further up the path as they have tired of carrying them so far.    Their children scream and shout and point at the nice 'doggy' as if it is a foaming at the mouth wolf from the hidden depths of the woods.  The adults berate the local mud splattered, dressed for the time of year, dog walkers that their dogs should be on leads as their small people don't like dogs, all this whilst waving their cameras and handbags in the air.  They never move to one side to allow you to pass or even restrain their squawking  off spring from grabbing tails or ears.  They encourage said off spring to bark at the 'doggies' to make friends - honestly this really has happened to me! - and even throw a stick because 'all doggies like sticks'.  The 'Un-Doggers' have even been known to say that the country paths through the woods should be paved for easier access. 

I do appreciate that not everyone likes dogs or even animals as pets, cows give them nightmares and sheep stink, which does beg the question of why they walk in areas that are frequented by dog owners and farm animals?   If, I was to walk my dogs in town or through a children's play area of course I would have them on the lead, although why I would want to walk near a play area when I don't like other peoples kids (didn't like my own much when they were little!) but they are in the open fields, they are well behaved, friendly dogs that like to roll in the mud and have a good time.  They will walk behind you waiting for you to step to the side to allow them to pass.  There has been many an occasion when a group of us dog walkers meet up and we have as many as 8-10 happy dogs running around, chasing, barking, playing, rolling in mud...  they are having a good time, should we see a party of 'Un-Doggers' we call our dogs and move to the side, wishing them a pleasant walk.  So please, when you see a dog walker, restrain your off spring, don't let them bark in the faces of my dogs, don't throw sticks its dangerous and for goodness sake its a dog not a doggie!

Creative Sundays Blog Hop

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Insomnia and interesting romance....

Bit of a rant in this blog as this week hasn't gone to plan, yes I had a lovely evening out with friends on Thursday, fine wine... well Barcardi and coke, three of, with a rather delicious Indian curry at our favourite curry house in Hereford, Sweet Chilli, if you are local and have never been, get round to Bridge Street just before Left Bank, great food, good clean airy space with soft lighting and music and excellent staff that really can't do more for you.

Friday I had another friend come and visit... secretly I think I am just the tea maker as Gordy is her favourite she being his biggest fan and bringer of cheese, which he now knows there is some left with his  name on in the fridge making getting in and out of there a drama waiting to happen.  So far only whiskers have been skimmed by the closing door but it won't be long before he gets his tail or head stuck!  

Unfortunately I have felt hungover all week and not through drink but through lack of sleep.  I am an insomnia sufferer who has been in remission for years until this week.  Tuesday night it started.

I woke up around 2am having gone to bed around 10.30 and read until almost 12 (will talk about books in a minute!) so as you do when you are over 40 and wake up in the night you immediately head to the bathroom as ones bladder isn't the strong 'can wait until morning' type any more despite not drinking after 10pm and having a wee before bed.  So I go to the bathroom, alone, leaving dogs, husband and Gordy snoring on the bed, Teeko is in my daughters room curled up tight as a ball snoring amongst lots of space as she is at the boyfriends.  Get back into bed, shuffle my way under a dog, elbow the husband to make him roll over and stop snoring, to which, like all men, he farts and perfumes the room with rotten egg smell, Defi having heard a fart decides that he too needs to release wind and promptly does, then gets off the bed wafting his tail and swishing the revolting aromas around.  Gordy doesn't wake up and is stretched across the bed with more room than anyone else!

About 30 minutes later I decide I am thirsty so head downstairs for a drink of diet coke, just a small one still hoping to nod back off and don't want to get up for another wee later.

Go back to bed and shuffle back under huffing Izabel who is not pleased to be disturbed again, raises her head and throws me the 'do you mind' look 'some of us are sleeping'.  I apologize quietly whispering under my breath but loud enough to be heard over Gordy and the husband snoring.  Elbow the husband and avoid the cat with my legs.

I clock watch.

I am bored.

Go back downstairs to get my notebook as it has a Kindle app on it, end up on FB making up silly stories on a friends alien beads she has up for sale in a couple of the selling groups on there.

Battery dies.

Its now 5.45am and I am feeling sleepy.  Start to nod off.  My son gets up for work at 5.55am, he is 10 mins late (apparently if I was awake I should have known this and got him up!)  He makes enough noise to wake the dead.  I am awake again....

6.45am.  I elbow the husband again, can he get up and feed the dogs? I am shattered as I haven't slept.  He starts to talk to me, ask me questions on why I am feeling sleepy now and not in the night.  He gets told to go away.  I am not very polite!

I snooze for about an hour then decide that really its not happening and get up. Wednesday night will be better I think.

It wasn't.

I went to bed around 10.30pm as normal and nodded off almost straight away after reading my book for about 45 minutes - no matter how tired or drunk I might be at night I have to read at least a page of a book - oh heaven I was asleep.  My husband came up to bed just after midnight so he disturbed me but I managed to stay half asleep, before long he was snoring, Gordy was snoring, Defi was breathing deeply on the wooden floor of the bedroom and Iz was snuggled right in to the duvet stealing most of it.  Then the noise.  Oh the noise.  Wide awake I stared at the bedroom ceiling, no one else in the room seemed to notice anything unusal, was I making it up?  was I so tired the noise was in my head?  No.  The noise was a bloody rat in the loft, practising his tap dancing in clogs and he was at it for hours and hours....and hours....  Now, I don't mind rats, used to keep Fancy Rats as pets years ago, I love the part most people hate, their long silky scaley tails, but this tap dancing rat was really cruisin' for a brusin' and if I wasn't scared of heights I would have scaled the walls like Spiderman gone through the loft hatch and strangled his ratty little neck but I was reduced to lying in bed, staring at the ceiling thinking up  rat recipes should I be so inclined.

Thursday morning came and I had managed approx 2 hours of sleep during the night.  The meal out with friends was something I really was looking forward to for the last few weeks now felt like a chore, but despite being tired I had a thoroughly good time and was back home for 11pm and in bed not long after.  

My brain wouldn't switch off.  I clock watched the hours slowly ticking by waiting for Rattie to do his dancing whilst murderous thoughts raged through my mind.  He. thankfully was silent.  The husband however competed with Gordy for loudest snore and I was truly unsure whom I disliked most around 3am.

I dozed on and off Thursday night, Friday night would be better I thought, husband was going to work (nights) and I would have the bed to myself, well me, Iz, Defi and Gordy... practically empty!

10pm Friday night, I was in bed, too tired to lift up the book let alone read a word, my eyes stung, my limbs ached I was desperate for sleep.  I saw the clock 10.06pm.....2.54am.  Nearly 5 hours!!  Why did I wake up?  My husband came home at 2.30am, he made enough noise to wake up the neighbours - our nearest one being a field away down a country lane - and then when he was upstairs he began to chat to the dog!!  I was murderous, I muttered at him to shut up and tried to drift back to oblivion.  Do you think I could?  no chance.  I lay there until 6am thinking how much pressure did I have to use on the husbands snoring face with my pillow.

Last night, Saturday night, everyone in the house, including Rattie whose days are numbered anyway, was under pain of death if they disturbed me.  Husband worked again but came home around 4am and was trying so hard to be quiet - man quiet is NOT woman quiet - that I don't have the heart to tell him he woke me, but I had SIX WHOLE HOURS of sleep last night and feel like I have been reborn, in fact I have just had a mad clean through the house, one bathroom, one shower room, one utility room - all walls washed - hall, bedroom, living room and kitchen hoovered and 2 loads of washing done.  Its amazing what sleep can do!!  

So, books.

I love to read and one day I will be an author, for now I am writing for Cat World magazine and this blog but a real bona fide book deal would be brilliant!

I love buying books and our local hospice shop has a huge selection and so inexpensive that I just can't help myself and I reason that they take my unwanted goods for nothing so I support that by buying their books.  This is one of the last lot I got the other week (I can't tell you exactly how many I got just in case the husband reads this and finds out...I also have raided the shelves of The Works that closed down their outlet within our local garden centre and as he paid for that collection I have to be a be quiet on the book front....)

Lots of short stories, perfect for bedtime reading if you are  a bit tired but still need a word fix, with several of my favourite fantasy writers, Jean Johnson the author of the Sons of Destiny series being just one of them.  If you fancy a bit of out of this world romance, this book is for you, indulge in the romantic werewolf, angels, humans with a sixth sense, the beautiful Selkie, drift to sleep (if you are really lucky!) with visions of the other side playing out in your sub conscious mind......

This blog is part of the Sunday Creative Blog Hop

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Home is where the heart is........

A special blog for someone who will remain nameless, lets call her Betsy and anyone else who might just be wondering the same thing.

Where do I hang out when I am home?

 Above is one corner of my studio, the corner I sit at the torch.  My studio is in the garden under an enormous great tree that goes the most beautiful rustic reds in the Autumn.  I get lots of Jays, Sparrows, Magpies, Robins, Pigeons the odd duck and bird of prey in that tree too.

I took all these photos this morning, Sunday February 14th 2016, its not tidy in my kitchen, or anywhere in the house really I have been poorly for a few weeks and my husband has worked nights all week so cleaning has been a bit lapse.

When on my laptop writing, loitering on FB, wrapping beads for sending as well as eating, cooking - ok watching the husband cook - lighting fires  and a myriad of other tasks I am in the kitchen.  My kitchen is a big room, the dinning table at one end and the pantry at the other.  Three doors lead from the kitchen one to the utility room - no photos if the rest of the house is bad this room is strictly off limits! one to the pantry and the other by the fridge to the hall. The utility leads to a small shower room and a door takes you outside, this is the back door but is the front door as its most used and has the letter box.  Like my life the house is a bit back to front and upside down, perfect living really.

So, photo above facing the dining table, as you can see Iz and Defi have had breakfast and their raised bowl stand will be put away in a minute...  or two.  Can you see the prone shape on the fire hearth?  

The corner to the right of the dining table is where my book that I am currently writing is housed in a rather bespoke box that looks like an old encyclopedia, I love that box!

Facing the other end of the room, my rocking chair I stole from one brother who had stole it from our other brother.. they are twins and I am the eldest, I liked it, I pinched it, its been with me for about 20 years!  

The door on the left is the pantry the other door leads to the room of doom, otherwise known as the utility room...shudders at visions of mud splattered walls and dirty laundry....

The third door from the kitchen takes you into the hall and the monolith that is Gordy Towers is across the front door that we don't use.  A bookcase stands to the right and that is where the cats eat and the stairs take you to the bedrooms.  I like the glass doors, we have this one and the one from the hall into the living room which is on the left of Gordy Towers: the glass is always covered in nose prints and dribble and although they are smeared and in need of constant cleaning I can spy on Gordy when he is playing by himself in the hall, in turn he can sit and sulk at the door to come in when he is banished at cooking times!

My living room, bit of a mess!  this is the corner you could see from the door way and my 'end of the sofa'  I have drawing pads, pencils, crochet hooks, yarn and fish tanks.  I love my nursery fish tank on my old hexagonal table, one day I really will decorate this table in the style of the narrowboats.  I have said that for the 15 years I have had it!!

Close up of the 'stuff' on my table and its all mine.... 

Stuffed between the fish tank and the sofa, filling for crochet toys, my bag of hooks and my sewing box my son brought me for Christmas that has my fine threads in that I will probably hoard for a few years before using and my toys eyes.  NO ONE else in the house is allowed piles but I follow my own rules!

The fish tank and me still in my dressing gown and pj's!!

From the right of Gordy Towers in the hall, at the bottom of the stairs is a window that shows you the back of the garden.  The house sits not quite in the middle of the gardens so we don't have a front and back but this is to the back of the house, just a corner mind the garden is a lovely big size, surrounded by fields and country lane.  This is my studio shed under the big tree (right photo below) that is still quite bare.  My garden is not at its finest and this part faces North so it does get the wind and rain.

The left hand photo was taken from the window in the living room at the front and shows my very impressive bamboo and my sons van that is actually in pieces!!  Bloody kids!!  I can't show you the other end of the drive that wraps around the house and takes you back to the kitchen and utility because to be quite honest its a mess of mud, cars, wood for the fire...   Tucked in the bamboo is my bird table so I have some lovely movement and chirrping from this area.

Taken from the same window in the living room but pointing to the left of the garden, the sun was just rising this morning.  This is the gate that leads out onto the lane, that telephone line that stretches the length of the lane quite often has big rooks, ravens, crows, magpies, pigeons, owls, red kite and many other beautiful birds sitting on it annoying Defi and making him bark!

Remember the prone figure from above?  You guessed it just another morning protest at the lack of fire for his lordship!

...and on the table is the most recent copy of Gordy and Me in Cat World Magazine, I leave it there to remind the family what a fabulous writer I am and that I really need time to finish the book and do next months article.

How is that Betsy?  Now you know where I live and how, creativity chaotic!!

This blog post is part of the Creative Sunday Blog Hop hosted by Jill of Kiln Fired Art